Lagan Valley founder tells of fears over out of hours vet work

Lagan Valley founder tells of fears over out of hours vet work

Ian Moore insists practices must adapt to protect work life balance

The founder of one of Northern Ireland’s most successful independent veterinary practices has spoken of his concern over the efficacy of out of hours work in large animal practice.

Ian Moore, who runs Lagan Valley Vets practices in Moira and Dromore, told NI Veterinary Today, the fees charged for out of hours cover are rarely sufficient to cover the costs of providing the service.

He added: “The ability of a farm client to have the immediate services of a professional person anytime, day or night, is frequently undervalued.

“I feel strongly in the original ethos of farm practice- in providing cover for our customers, who in return use our practice for routine work, drug sales and TB test.

Claire Davis and Ian Moore check on one of their animals

“However increasingly in farm animal practice, there is less clinical work to do on farm- with preventative measures taking a more active role, and more ‘shopping around’, with farms employing different practices for different aspects of their veterinary work depending on fees charged.

“When a farm’s veterinary business is divided between practices, some of which not willing to cover their OOH this leaves a gap in profitability for the practice that ends up picking up the OOH work. This calls into question the validity of farm animal work as we know it, being financially viable for the average independent veterinary practice.

‘Not sustainable’

The Lagan Valley founder told NI Veterinary Today that getting vets willing to cover such long hours and out of hours work was also a real problem and that practices needed to adapt

He explained: “There has been a historic neglect of a work life balance in veterinary practice, and now that vets are wanting that balance I worry that the way in which practices have been set up and ran for so long is not sustainable given the demands of modern practice.

“Looking forward as corporates purchase more and more veterinary practices I see this as a great opportunity for privately run practices to push forward. I believe independent practices can provide a much more personal, individual and tailored experience for both clients and animals and indeed can provide a more relaxed work life for the staff who work there.”

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